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2019 Volkswagen Jetta gets new look, new technology Featured

Aug 25, 2018 Hit: 362 Written by 
The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta gets a major reboot and catches up well in the compact sedan segment.
The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta gets a major reboot and catches up well in the compact sedan segment. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen

Sometimes you’ve got to start over, especially if what’s been hanging around for a while is getting outdated.

Such is the case with the Volkswagen Jetta, which gets a much-needed redesign for the 2019 model year that steps up its presence in the compact car segment. I recently spent some time in a 2019 Jetta, and I’m back with a full report on the improvements and how the updated model measures up.


The Jetta remains a compact car, so don’t expect massive amounts of room. But things are improved in terms of driver and passenger comfort from previous models, and both front and rear passengers will feel comfortable in terms of legroom and headroom. That’s because the 2019 Jetta is longer, wider and taller than the previous version.

The leatherette seating materials in the sporty R Line version of the Jetta I tested were quite comfortable (leather is offered on top trim level), but some of the interior featured hard plastics generally associated with vehicles in this price range. Attractive two-tone seating is also offered.


Additional Info

  • Vehicle:: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta
  • Price as tested:: $23,845 (starting price is $18,545)
  • Best feature:: Responsive powerplant, updated technology
  • Rating:: 3.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?:: Compact sedan buyers looking for affordable, simple elegance, a fun ride and strong tech features

The 2019 Jetta in some ways features a traditional no-frills setup on the interior, with a few attractive standout features to spice things up. Exterior design is also greatly improved, with sharp lines and, on the R Line, a unique grille and badging. Rear seats fold down to increase storage space, but trunk is still a bit small for the segment.

LED headlights, taillights and daytime running lights are standard, there are power adjustable side mirrors, and an optional panoramic sunroof.


The 2019 Jetta features a 1.4-liter turbo, turbo 4-cylinder engine; with six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmissions offered. It’s a front-wheel drive vehicle only.
Numbers come in at 147 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, which are impressive vs. the compact competition (Focus/Mazda3/Civic/Corolla/Sentra/etc.)

The engine on the Jetta is a bit noisy, but ride is responsive to driver input, fast and handles well. It’s not a hot rod by anyone’s definition, but at the same time is on the faster side of the compact class and offers decent acceleration. An eco driving mode is available if you want to maximize fuel mileage.


Not always a leader in tech in the past, VW and Jetta have stepped up their game for 2019 with new features like the Virtual Cockpit being offered on higher trims. A trickle-down from the Audi brand, this system replaces the traditional look of the gauges with a 10.3-inch screen in the instrument cluster that is controlled via the steering wheel. This screen is especially helpful when using navigation.

It also offers access to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto for full smartphone connectivity, and you can choose a 400-watt Beats audio system. Bluetooth connectivity allows for streaming music and calls through to the vehicle.

Standard features include: 3-point safety belts; 6 airbags; Anti-lock brakes; Hydraulic brake assist; Electronic stability control; Rear view camera system; Tire pressure monitoring; and dual zone climate control.

Other safety options include forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking (front assist), blind spot monitoring with rear traffic alert and more. These are features not always offered on compact rides, so it’s good to see them offered on the Jetta.

Keyless access and push-button start are helpful, and the touchscreen on the infotainment system is large enough and easy to use. One nice touch is that when you approach the touchscreen, it senses your finger and pops up menu options.

Official fuel mileage numbers on the 2019 Jetta are 30 city/40 highway/34 combined, which on paper would be among the best in class. But during my time with the Jetta, I was below the low end of that, averaging about 28 mpg. While these are still respectable numbers for the class, other compact competitors have topped these numbers in my real-world testing.

My test vehicle, an R-Line trim level, came in just under $24,000; Base price starts under $19K. This is a reasonable price for the segment, especially when considering the tech advancements for 2019, though the highest-end Jettas can approach $27K.


The rebooted 2019 VW Jetta looks sharp, sees strong tech updates, and is among the most fun-to-drive vehicles that those seeking a compact ride can consider.

============= can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

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Matt Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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